One of the biggest fears women over 40 face when trying to get pregnant is that their fertility is simply slipping through their fingers. And while we just can’t predict the likelihood of conception as we get older, pregnancy and having a healthy baby after 40 is still possible.
While healthy fertility over 40 takes a lot of effort, just think of it as getting the nursery ready. After all, good preparation will keep you focused. It’s vital to eat well, exercise and cut out bad lifestyle choices like alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. Limit caffeine intake from coffee and teas to under 200 milligrams a day and cut out alcohol all together. Seeing a doctor can also help you understand if there are any other fertility issues that may stop you getting pregnant. Ask your GP for a full hormone test in the first instance.
It’s important to focus on a few things along the way too:
- Managing stress
- Timing ovulation and intercourse
- Strengthening pelvic floor muscles through exercise.
- Don’t forget that preconception health is important for your partner too.
On my journey I started by cutting out caffeine a few months in advance of trying for a baby. I then turned to fertility superfoods every day, including maca and royal jelly, while I supplemented with key antioxidants CoQ10 Ubiquinol and folic acid.
I headed to the gym on a regular basis to get ‘fighting fit’ with Les Mills BodyCombat, a martial arts-inspired workout featuring boxing, taekwondo and kung fu. (Sweating helps your body detoxify by removing excess toxins). In all, I’d exercise around 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week. I also downloaded an app which proved really useful. It’s fair to say that I drove my husband insane with it because it was supposed to predict the best time to conceive. I’d installed the free Women’s Diary app powered by Woman.excite on my phone early in 2015. It was really useful in tracking my period with a variety of information. Thanks to a host of cute stickers, it became a way of managing my physical health and helped to support me physically and mentally during this time. The calendar also enabled me to track everything and add memos. As well as the calendar function, the app gave me the opportunity to record my weight and see my physical condition at a glance. In terms of pregnancy vitamins, I’d been taking Vitabiotics Pregnacare Max for a year prior to trying to conceive and I’d convinced my other half to take Vitabiotics Wellman health supplements .
The other thing I did was eat A LOT of Persian food as it’s really healthy. Much of it is gluten-free. Having rice as the main starch, you don’t have to worry about finding substitutions for bread or pasta. It’s also loaded with fruit and vegetables. Nearly all dishes, stews and soups, are filled with healthy vegetables, spices and herbs. Yogurt, which is rich in probiotics, is served with many of the main courses. Meanwhile, olive oil is used a lot in dishes, which is a great source of monounsaturated fat. Most of the food is high in protein too – making use of both animal and plant protein sources. Whether you enjoy a lamb stew with greens and herbs, such as Ghormeh Sabzi, or a delicious soup of chickpeas and yoghurt, such as Ash-e Doogh, everyone can benefit. Given how good it is for you, I turned to my in-laws for their advice on what to eat on my journey to conception. I’ve included a list of 10 fertility-boosting foods I took on a daily basis.
I added my own fruit, veg, nuts and seeds into the equation too. Asparagus and watermelon because they give the body a rich supply of glutathione, which is important for egg quality. Kale because it’s a powerhouse vegetable and contains elements necessary for estrogen metabolism. Goji berries as they contain phytochemicals beneficial for fertility. Nuts, avocados and olive oil were all on my weekly shopping list too. I knew they helped to reduce inflammation in the body, which in turn would promote regular ovulation and general fertility.
Now on the exercise front, I did my pelvic floor exercises! Kegal exercises are vital when you are over 40 and trying to get pregnant. Contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles repeatedly will help support uterine strength, keep your productive organs in place and help to prevent uterine prolapse and incontinence.
Now I’ll admit I’m no nutritional or fitness expert, but the results speak for themselves…six-month-old Cyrus.
Check out my 8-day fertility challenge! #fertileafter40
Now as I mentioned before, no one can predict the likelihood of conception. All we can do is make sure we are in tip-top form before we start trying. After all, when it comes to boosting fertility, making lifestyle changes can make a HUGE difference. It is often the things we do on a daily basis that have the greatest impact on our overall health.
So to help you reach your goal of a healthy pregnancy, I have created an 8-day Fertility Challenge. It’s as good a starting point as any.
This is how it works…
I invite you to join me in adding one fertility-boosting food to your daily diet for 8 days. To help you, I will add a new Persian recipe to the Of Saffron & Cyrus site each day, so you never run out of ideas.
My recipes will incorporate a variety of fertility foods and superfoods. I will also post lists of fertility-boosting snacks you can eat too.
Starting tomorrow, I will post the first recipe. To join me, get your cook’s apron on and make sure to prepare for the challenge by taking a trip to your local grocery store.
Remember you can share you ideas and your own healthy recipes on Twitter with me over the next 8 days. Use the hashtag #fertileat40 and copy me in so I can RT them @saffronandcyrus. Good luck! And please let me know if it works for you via email email@example.com.